On Alphas, Brent Spiner is a human dolphin and Charlotte from Lost is an invisible assassin

Yesterday's episode of Alphas was Stunt-Cast-O-Rama! Brent Spiner guest-starred as a blind Alpha with sonar powers and Rebecca Mader was a self-described ronin with the power to hide in the human blind spot. Best episode yet! Seriously!

Even though these were two of the more outlandish (and creative) Alpha abilities we've seen thus far, "Blind Spots" never allowed its superpowers to eclipse the gee-whiz mythology the show's writers are crafting.

The last time we saw Dr. Rosen's team was two weeks prior in "A Short Time in Paradise." This wasn't a totally godawful episode, but it was kind of boring. A monster-of-the-week cult leader (Garret Dillahunt) with the power to cause ecstatic hallucinations abducted Hicks and Nina, who enjoyed pheromone-stoned forest sex. After a conflicted Rosen shoots the demagogue in the head, he and Bill decide that some military enhancements would benefit their ragtag crew.


Fast-forward to this week's episode — Bill has constructed a high-tech holding cell in their office, and its first occupant is Dr. Kern (Spiner), an Alpha with the powers of echolocation. Spiner absolutely aced the role of the is-he-or-isn't bad guy. On one hand, we learn that Kern's tampering with prenatal vitamins to spur more Alpha births. On another, he's doing so in response to pharmaceuticals companies who are shilling drugs to prevent the births of more Alphas.

Kern's mysterious motives made the episode. Does he agree with Rosen's woozy idealism, or is he just a skilled manipulator? Is Red Flag as ideologically fractured as Kern claimed? Even when he makes his sonar-blasting escape at the episode's end, we're not sure how much of Kern's prattling was honesty and how much was opportunism.

The main reason Kern wants get the hell out of the office is to escape Griffin (Mader), a mercenary with the ability to sneak into the human blind spot. It sounds like a ludicrous power, but Rosen's hypothesis that she can release a chemical to impair the optic nerves worked.

Despite Griffin's depiction as a ninja assassin in this episode's opening acts, she's not your typical soldier of fortune. We learn that she's employed by a third faction that's neither Rosen's team nor Red Flag. Her interests lie in extracting Kern, but not offing our heroes.

My (admittedly uninformed) theory is that Griffin's employed by a government-run shadow initiative of Alphas who are better trained and more brutal than Rosen's bunch. And was that some sexual frisson with Bill when she offered him the clue of "Stanton Parish?"

Alphas was picked up for a second season last week. If next year's episodes are as intriguing as "Blind Spots," the show will be in a good place indeed. If you've never watched Alphas, this is the place to start.


PS: Gary's lament that they only fight people with powers = meta hilarity.




It was an excellent episode and Brent Spiner, just WOW, buuuuuut

I really hate it when they write smart people stupid for the sake of the plot.

Didn't any of these people read comics? The moment they said "Ultra-sonics" I thought; Banshee, Black Canary, Klaw, Tyroc, Songbird, Music Meister, etc. I mean nosebleeds, cameras glitching and cracks in the building? I mean how can you be a Doctor of Super Powers and never read a comic book?

Other than that, I especially liked that Kern isn't necessarily more powerful, just much more experienced in how to use his powers. This is called "Power Stunts" in the superhero role playing games that apparently none of the characters ever played either.